International Journal for Equity in Health (2019-10-01)

Antidepressant medication use among working age first-generation migrants resident in Finland: an administrative data linkage study

  • Tania Bosqui,
  • Ari Väänänen,
  • Andre Buscariolli,
  • Aki Koskinen,
  • Dermot O’Reilly,
  • Auli Airila,
  • Anne Kouvonen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
pp. 1 – 9


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Abstract Background A higher risk of common mental health disorders has been found for first-generation migrants in high income countries, but few studies have examined the use of mental health care. This study aimed to identify the level of antidepressant use amongst the largest first generation migrant groups resident in Finland. Methods This cohort study used record-based data linkage methodology to examine the hazard of antidepressant use between migrant groups in Finland using Cox proportional hazard models. Data was derived using socio-demographic and prescription data from Statistics Finland and the Finnish Population Registry. The cohort included a random sample of 33% of the working age population in 2007 (N = 1,059,426, 49.8% women, 2.5% migrants) and dispensed antidepressant prescriptions from 2008 to 2014. Results After adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics, results show higher antidepressant use for female migrants from North Africa and the Middle East compared to the Finland-born majority, a similar level of use for migrants from Western countries, and lower use for migrants from other non-Western countries. Conclusions The gender and country of origin dependent use of antidepressant medication is discussed in terms of socio-political and cultural between-group differences. Recommendations are made to address inequalities in accessing services, particularly for migrants from non-Western countries.